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Category: Mobile World Congress

MWCS18 and AIXPRT: a new video

A few weeks ago, Bill shared his first impressions from this year’s Mobile World Congress Shanghai (MWCS). “5G +” was the major theme, and there was a heavy emphasis on 5G + AI. This week, we published a video about Bill’s MWCS experience and the role that the XPRTs can play in evaluating emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, and VR. Check it out!

MWC Shanghai 2018: 5G, AI, VR, and the XPRTs

 

You can read more about AIXPRT development here. We’re still accepting responses to the AIXPRT Request for Comments, so if you would like to share your ideas on developing an AI/machine learning benchmark, please feel free to contact us.

Justin

 

MWC18 and technology on the brink

This year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona bristled with technologies on the brink of superstardom.  The long-awaited 5G high-speed mobile standard again dominated the conversations, and is one year closer to creating a world of high-speed connections that will make possible mobile usages we’ve only begun to discover.  Intelligent, connected cars promise a self-driving and highly interconnected automotive experience that should ultimately make driving better for all of us.  Artificial intelligence, already a star, showed glimmers of its vast and still barely tapped potential.  In keeping with the show’s name, mobile devices of all sorts proved that phones and tablets and laptops are nowhere near done, with new models and capabilities available all over the many halls that comprised the MWC campus.

Each of those technologies will continue to evolve rapidly over the coming years, and each will create new opportunities for us all to benefit.  Those opportunities will appear both in ways we understand now—faster connections and quicker devices, for example—and in fashions we don’t yet understand.  The new benefits will lead to new usage models, change the ways we interact with the world, and create whole new markets.  (When the first smartphones appeared, they changed photography forever, but that wasn’t their primary goal.)  These new technologies will help us in ways we can now only glimpse.

These changes and new capabilities will breed both competition and, inevitably, confusion.  How are we to know which of the new products deliver the best implementations of these technologies heading toward stardom, and how are we to know when to upgrade to new generations of these products?

Answering those questions, and clarifying some of the confusing aspects of the always shifting tech market, are the reasons the XPRT community and tools exist.  New tech creates new usage models that require new tools to assess–XPRT tools.

If there’s one last lesson I learned from MWC18, it’s that our work is only just beginning.  The new technologies that are on the brink today will become superstars soon, and we’ll be there with the tools you need to assess and compare them.

Mark

WebXPRT 3, Mobile World Congress, and the next HDXPRT

We’re excited about everything that’s in store for the XPRTs, and we want to update community members on what to expect in the next few months.

The next major development is likely to be the WebXPRT 3 general release. We’re currently refining the UI and conducting extensive testing with the community preview build. We’re not ready to announce a firm release date, but hope to do so over the next few weeks. Please try the community preview and give us your feedback, if you haven’t already.

During the last week of February, Mark will be at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. Each year, MWC offers a great opportunity to examine the new trends and technologies that will shape mobile technology in the years to come. We look forward to sharing Mark’s thoughts on this year’s hot topics. Will you be attending MWC this year? If so, let us know!

In addition, we’re hoping to have a community preview of the next HDXPRT ready in the spring. As we mentioned a few months ago, we’re updating the workloads, applications, and UI. For the converting photos scenario, we’re considering incorporating new Adobe Photoshop tools such as the “Open Closed Eyes” feature and an automatic fix for pictures that are out of focus due to handheld camera shake. For the converting videos scenario, we’re including 4K GoPro footage that represents the quality of video captured by today’s “prosumer” demographic.

What features would you like to see in the next HDXPRT? Let us know!

Justin

Thoughts from MWC Shanghai

I’ve spent the last couple days walking the exhibition halls of MWC Shanghai. The Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) is large, but smaller than the MWC exhibit space in Barcelona or the set of exhibit halls in Las Vegas for CES. (SNIEC is not even the biggest exhibition space in Shanghai!) Further, MWC here still only took up half the exhibition space, but there was plenty to see. And, I’m less exhausted than after CES or MWC in Barcelona!

Photo Jun 28, 9 56 45 AM

If I had to pick one theme from the exhibition halls, it would be 5G. It seemed like half the booths had 5G displayed somewhere in their signage. The cloud was the other concept that seemed to be everywhere. While neither was surprising, it was interesting to see halfway around the world. In truth, it feels like 5G is much farther along here than it is back in the States.

I was also surprised to see how many phone vendors are here that I’d never heard of before such as Lephone and Gionee. I stopped by their booths with XPRT Spotlight information and hope they will send in some of their devices for inclusion in the future.

One thing I found of note was how much technology in general and IoT in particular is going to be everywhere. There was an interesting exhibit showing how stores of the future might operate. I was able to “buy” items without traditionally checking out. (I got a free water and some cookies out of the experience.) I just placed the items in a location on the checkout counter, which read their NFC labels and displayed them on the checkout screen. It seemed sort of like my understanding of the experiments that Amazon has been doing with brick-and-mortar grocery stores (prior to their purchase of Whole Foods). The whole experience felt a bit odd and still unpolished, but I’m sure it will improve and I’ll get used to it.

Photo Jun 29, 12 04 30 PM

The next generation will find it not odd, but normal. There were exhibits with groups of children playing with creative technologies from handheld 3D printers to simplified programming languages. They will be the generation after digital natives, maybe the digital creatives? What impact will they have? The future is both exciting and daunting!

I came away from the conference thinking about how the XPRTs can help folks choose amongst the myriad devices and technologies that are just around the corner. What would you most like to see the XPRTs tackle in the next six months to a year?

Bill Catchings

VR and AR at Mobile World Congress 2017

Spotting the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) demos at the recent Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona was easy: all you had to do was look for the long queues of people waiting to put on a headset and see another world. Though the demos ranged from games to simulated roller-coaster rides to simple how-to tools, the interest of the crowd was always high. A lot of the attraction was clearly due to the tools’ relative novelty, but many people seemed focused on using the technologies to create commercially viable products.

Both VR and AR involve a great deal of graphics and data movement, so they can be quite computationally demanding. Right now, that’s not a problem, because most applications and demos are hooked directly to powerful computers. As these technologies become more pervasive, however, they’re going to find their way into our devices, which will almost certainly do some of the processing even as the bulk of the work happens on servers in the cloud. The better the AR and VR experiences our devices can support, the happier we’re likely to be with those technologies.

Along with the crowds at MWC, many of us in the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community are enthusiastic about VR and AR, which is why we’ve been monitoring these fields for some time. We’ve even worked with a group of NC State University students to produce a sample VR workload. If you have thoughts on how we might best support VR and AR, please contact us. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to track both closely and work to get the XPRTs ready to measure how well devices handle these technologies.

Mark

Mobile World Congress 2017 and the territories ahead

Walking the halls of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC)—and, once again, I walked by every booth in every one of them—it was clear that mobile technology is expanding faster than ever into more new tech territories than ever before.

On the device front, cameras and camera quality have become a pitched battleground, with mobile phone makers teaming with camera manufacturers to give us better and better images and video. This fight is far from over, too, because vendors are exploring many different ways to improve mobile phone camera quality. Quick charging is a hot new trend we can expect to hear more about in the days to come. Of course, apps and their performance continue to matter greatly, because if you can do it from any computer, you better be able to do at least some of it from your phone.

The Internet of Things (IoT) grabbed many headlines, with vendors still selling more dreams than reality, but some industries living this future now. The proliferation of IoT devices will result, of course, in massive increases in the amount of data flowing through the world’s networks, which in turn will require more and more computing power to analyze and use. That power will need to be everywhere, from massive datacenters to the device in your hand, because the more data you have, the more you’ll want to customize it to your particular needs.

Similarly, AI was a major theme of the show, and it’s also likely to suck up computing cycles everywhere. The vast majority of the work will, of course, end up in datacenters, but some processing is likely to be local, particularly in situations, such as real-time translation, where we can’t afford significant comm delays.

5G, the next big step in mobile data speeds, was everywhere, with most companies seeming to agree the new standard was still years away–but also excited about what will be possible. When you can stream 4K movies to your phone wirelessly while simultaneously receiving and customizing analyses of your company’s IoT network, you’re going to need a powerful, sophisticated device running equally powerful and sophisticated apps.

Everywhere I looked, the future was bright—and complicated, and likely to place increasing demands on all of our devices. We’ll need guides as we find our paths through these new territories and as we determine the right device tools for our jobs, so the need for the XPRTs will only increase. I look forward to seeing where we, the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, take them next.

Mark

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